It was a Monday. Mondays are sometimes known to be down days in life. This Monday I am describing counts. I was feeling down. Not down about life. I was feeling down about the impact of church and ministry in the world.
- “There’s so much to do!”
- “Is my ministry making the impact it should be?”
- “Where do I start?”
- “There are so many challenges in the church. Is it worth my effort?”
- “Can the church change?”
Ever have a day like this?
There is no doubt about it, ministry can be tough. So much of what we do is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. It can drain on the soul. It can leave me feeling spiritually crazy!
As I look back at the self-talk I was having on that particular Monday, I noticed that they all had one thing in common: it was about me.
Funny. I thought ministry was about God
When I have days like this, I remember that I need to stay connected with God. After all, everything I do is God’s work, not my work.
- Maybe I can’t do everything, but God can.
- Maybe I can’t make the impact I want in my ministry, but God can.
- Maybe I don’t know where to start, but God knows.
- Maybe I can’t change the church, but God can.
When my ministry gets crazy and I start getting down on myself, I practice these steps to help keep me spiritually sane:
- Remember that it’s not about me. That’s a tough one. Our ego can pull us away from God instead of glorifying God.
- Meet with my spiritual director. I meet with my director once a month. He provides tremendous perspective and helps me stay in touch with the movements of God in my life. I really cannot imagine being able to do what I do without spiritual direction.
- Go to daily mass. One of the things I love about being a Roman Catholic is that it is easy to go to mass everyday. Although I definitely can’t go everyday, I do try to go a few times a week. Mass keeps me centered and focused on God. It’s an important part of my prayer life.
- Spend time with my family. When I get quality time with my wife and daughter, my life feels balanced and whole. I need to nurture the most important relationships in my life. Plus, being with them reminds me that my whole life is not about ministry. Ministry is just one part of my life. It is not my total being.
- Exercise. What does exercise have to do with keeping spiritually sane? Everything! I have watched myself closely. When I am not consistent with my workout routine, my ministry suffers. My relationship with God suffers. When I am consistent with my workout, I have a clearer head, I sleep better, and I am more focused on my ministry and God. It’s about balance.
Question: How do you stay spiritually sane in a spiritually crazy ministry?